Relationship Managers

Relationship Managers

Last updated 5 November 2019
Last updated 5 November 2019

Our Relationship Managers are our key leads to build and sustain effective relationships with tertiary education organisations (TEO’s) and regional stakeholders. They engage and collaborate to provide quality investment and career information to ensure that providers and all New Zealanders are best equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for lifelong success.

James Clabburn – Manager Business and Partnerships

"We are the 'eyes and ears' of our customers and seek opportunities for TEC to engage in relevant collaboration and partnerships. We promote TEC’s products and services and use our knowledge of national and regional development priorities as drivers for alignment between careers, economic and workforce development plans."

James Clabburn

James joined the TEC following a number of years in consultancy, HR and advisory roles in the Middle East and UK.

Arriving in Aotearoa in 2015, James continued his professional life with Careers New Zealand before moving to TEC where his goal is to be part of the systematic change that shapes the way New Zealand moves into the future.

“I relish the challenge to support my team to successfully and creatively resolve questions. Part of this is about forging strong, mutually beneficial relationships, where stakeholders understand and learn from each other to further enhance their own objectives and to best equip all New Zealanders for lifelong success.”

Sandra Ramsay – Manager Relationships (Investment)

“We are the listeners, talkers and connectors who keep learners at the centre. We will support TEOs to deliver to all learners in line with the TES and TEC’s objectives, as well as making sure investment plans are delivered to meet their commitments to TEC.”


Sandra joins the TEC following a diverse career path that includes work for the United Nations, various public and private sector roles, and most recently working with science faculties at a range of universities.

"Tertiary education has always been special to me. I was the first person in my family to go to university and it had such a positive impact on my life. Education is empowering, and it benefits many. I love being able to contribute to the education sector and form meaningful connections with our customers - it’s why I come to work each day."

Sandra enjoys liaising with a broad range of people, establishing strong business connections, and leading the way for her team to grow and develop their own roles.

“My goal is to support my team to have a toolbox of knowledge at their fingertips, so they can do the very best for our customer. Whether it is within a team in an organisation or working with external stakeholders, it’s all about connections - ensuring a flow of information, and establishing trust and rapport.”

For Sandra, heading back to university as an adult student was a particularly steep learning curve, but one that highlighted the transformative powers of education. “I started my masters degree in my mid-30s, with a young family. Working, looking after kids and attending university evening lectures was very challenging, but it changed my life and broadened not just my skills but my general knowledge. It gave me a true appreciation of lifelong learning. Education is for life.”

Relationship Managers Investment

Kim Ulberg, Principal Relationship Manager – Investment

“It’s been my life’s work to make the tertiary system perform better and be more responsive by the time my grand-kids get to tertiary study.”

Esther Calley, Principal Relationship Manager – Investment

"I have been with the TEC for over 20 years since migrating to New Zealand from Scotland. The opportunity to make a difference for learners continues to keep me committed to the work of the TEC. It is a huge privilege to support TEOs as they put their energies into transforming the lives of our learners."

Mele Ha’amoa ’Alatini, Relationship Manager – Investment

"I want to see a future where all learners achieve to their full potential. I will develop and foster effective relationships with TEO’s especially in relation to the investment it receives from us. For me, this relationship will be one where there’s a clear line of sight – for the learner, and how we can best facilitate and support their journey, to be one that is fruitful and successful."

Si'u Tupolo, Relationship Manager – Investment

“My passion for education grows more with every success story I hear from tertiary education organisations (TEOs), learners and our communities. As an immigrant from Samoa, I have great admiration and appreciation for the work of the Tertiary Education Commission. We support the tertiary sector, enabling opportunities for all New Zealanders, especially our Māori and Pacific learners. I am privileged to be part of such a journey.”

Conrad Herewini, Relationship Manager – Investment

"I want to ensure all New Zealanders are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for life-long success. As a TEC RM I will support our customers to actively manage their allocated portfolios. I will work collaboratively to ensure all learners, through their TEO, gain maximum benefit from TEC’s investment, funding and services."

Kazlo Evans, Relationship Manager – Investment

"I have come to the TEC to try to influence the sector at a national level. All people deserve to enjoy a successful learning experience. I will develop strong relationships with our customers to get an in-depth understanding of the investment into all our providers."

Taryn Eparaima, Relationship Manager – Investment

"In the words of Nelson Mandela: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. I believe in the power of education to change people’s lives for the better. My career in tertiary education spans 15 years, working for providers and government, supporting people and organisations to improve outcomes for all learners. Working for TEC gives me the opportunity every day, to make a positive impact on people’s lives."

Relationship Managers Business and Partnerships

Chris Travers, Principal Relationship Manager – Business and Partnerships

"I enjoy working with people across the education to employment system who are passionate about increasing the wellbeing of New Zealanders through fulfilling career opportunities. My goal is to ensure people have the best information to secure work where their skills are valued, and strengthen connections with their communities."

Jennifer Ross, Principal Relationship Manager – Business and Partnerships

"My focus is to create better connections between people, projects and initiatives both regionally and nationally. I want to help build a skilled workforce and enterprise capability that results in sustainable prosperity and wellbeing for the Tai Tokerau, Northland region."

Aaron Megchelse, Relationship Manager – Business and Partnerships

"My vision is to contribute to positive all-of-system collaboration across the region. I will engage with our customers to champion the intrinsic value of each learner whatever age and stage they are in life. All people have individual and collective significance that contributes to the important role they can play within New Zealand society."

Alex Penrose, Relationship Manager – Business and Partnerships

"I am ambitious and passionate about the difference the public sector can make to the quality of life of all New Zealanders. I am also motivated by the difference the tertiary education and careers systems can make to Aotearoa. My aim is to help individuals and organisations who have not previously interacted with the tertiary education system understand its importance both regionally and nationally."

Frances Fuamatu, Relationship Manager – Business and Partnerships

"I want to engage and build strong connections with our education, community and workforce stakeholders to champion the career aspirations of all New Zealanders. Together, we will work towards an equitable system for all learners particularly Māori and Pacific. We will enable and guide the lifelong learning and career development planning of all learners, so they reach their full potential."

Gemma Goldsmith, Partnership Manager – Business and Partnerships

"My aim is to see whānau, communities and Aotearoa’s economy thrive as we build an education system that meets the needs of our underserved learners. I am motivated and excited to build genuine relationships and partnerships to support a connected and integrated education system."

Erin Keyworth, Partnership Manager – Business and Partnerships

"I am passionate about education and the difference it can make in someone’s life, and beyond that, in our communities. As a Partnership Manager I look forward to exploring how TEC can partner with different organisations, agencies, and groups that share our values and goals."